Turkish WWI memorial unveiled at Pukeahu in Wellington
A sculpture commemorating the relationship between New Zealand and Turkey following World War I has been unveiled at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park in Wellington.
It was revealed on Monday by Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry, and Turkish ambassador Ahmet Ergin, and is a gift from Turkey to New Zealand.
Words of a poem by Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk are cut into a 700 kilogram bronze panel, set in stone taken from Anzac Cove in Gallipoli.
It is the creation of New Zealand Gunner Matt Gauldie, the Defence Force's artist for 10 years, who worked closely with the Turkish Embassy in New Zealand.
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"It's a tremendous honour, to be able to continue to serve my country through art is something I'm proud of," Gauldie said.
"A red pine tree native to Gallipoli, has been planted behind the sculpture, and at night the tree will be lit from below which will further illuminate the poem cut out of the bronze panel."
The ceremony was held moments before the Last Post sounded out over the park, with the flags of Turkey and New Zealand lowered beside the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
Barry, who spoke before the unveiling, wore a replica of WWI medal that belonged to her grandfather, who fought at Gallipoli.
Ambassador Ergin said: "This is a special place for us, the monument is placed on the left right where the heart is and we will take good care of your heart.
"With this memorial we emphasise, once again, the appreciation of a worthy foe of the great war, and the timeless friendship we have built together."